Over the last few days I have been digesting the Australian Homelessness Monitor 2018 funded by Launch Housing and researched and written by UNSW’s City Futures and Social Policy Research Centre, and University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research. Its publication was hard to miss, as it was splashed across the media up, down and around the country. The headlines told a heartbreaking story in numbers – a 14% jump in nationwide homelessness in just five years, and a massive 48% in Sydney. Rough sleeping also rocketed with 8,200 people recorded on census night – a 20% increase nationwide. Severe overcrowding (where households are at least four bedrooms short of what they need) perhaps inevitably given that sharing is probably the only feasible option for some people to keep a roof over their head has also risen dramatically, by 23% nationwide.
We are all time poor and the report is long but it cries out to be read attentively by policy makers and politicians across the country. It is well evidenced, measured and surprisingly positive. Solutions that work exist including the Housing First, Street to Home supportive housing models that were first introduced in Australia to tackle chronic rough sleeping in the wake of the 2008 Australia Government White Paper The Road Home. There are also plenty of examples where policy changes are likely to exacerbate homelessness. Changes to benefit entitlements and increases in sanctioning have reduced incomes and inevitably what households have to pay housing costs.
And then there are the policies and initiatives such as the NSW Social and Affordable Housing Fund we need more of. Investment in more social and affordable housing is after all the only real game changer. The report concisely explains how the rental market has changed. While rents may not have jumped as high as house prices, the competition for cheaper homes means that households traditionally able to access the private rental market are pushed out by higher income households who can’t afford the deposit on a house. It will cost but as one of the Monitor’s authors Cameron Parsell has demonstrated previously it cost Governments circa $13,000 p.a. more to keep someone homeless than provide them with a home and support services.
The report makes clear in stark terms the far greater risk there is of Aboriginal people experiencing homelessness – ten times more likely than non-Aboriginal Australians. The Closing the Gap refresh (see article below) must include a target to reduce Aboriginal homelessness.
There will be an excellent opportunity to dive into the Monitor detail at the EveryBody’s Home Affordable Housing Conference on 27-28 June 2018. Prof. Hal Pawson will be presenting and discussing the content with Katherine McKernan CEO at Homelessness NSW and Jeff Fiedler from the Housing Aged Action Group. We hope that the Monitor which will be repeated on a regular basis does stimulate Governments to take an alternative approach to ‘reactive incrementalism’ and make the ‘significant investment in longer term housing solutions’ so badly needed.
As community housing providers we also recognise that the industry has a role to play in all this. At a time when finding a home is so difficult landlords need to adopt practice that prevents wherever possible negative exits from a tenancy. Over the last year and going forward the Federation, with support from the NSW Government, Family and Community Services and the enthusiastic participation of providers, are producing and implementing a suite of practical tools to help front line staff respond to tenants in a way results in a sustained tenancy rather than eviction or abandonment. The first cab off the rank was the DFV toolkit, and not a moment too soon given that domestic and family violence is the single most commonly cited ‘main’ reason for homelessness. On 25 May we launched the creating sustainable tenancies toolkit for tenants with complex needs produced by Sue Cripps, a project in which we collaborated with Queensland Shelter. In the coming months there will be guidance on financial inclusion, ASB practice and responding to DFV perpetrators. These will be living documents with implementation supported by training options.
Register now for the pre-conference Caucuses!
Registrations are now open for the Caucuses which will complement the Affordable Housing Conference. There are strictly limited places are available for the Caucuses, which will be held on the afternoon of the 26 June. The three Caucus sessions are:
Emerging Leaders Caucus: the Emerging Leaders Caucus is for young housing and homelessness professionals who seek to play a leading role in the future of the social and affordable housing sector. The Caucus will provide an opportunity to step away from everyday business and join your peers to debate, discuss and learn about key skills that are essential to lead a successful organisation with a social purpose. The caucus will focus on the skills you need to shine as a leader as well as equipping you with the tools to excel at the art of verbal communication.
You will hear from experts in the field such as Rebecca Oelkers, Alex Notay and Jenny Stokes, and also get the opportunity to contribute your own ideas
Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda: Implications for Housing in Australia: the United Nations has achieved three groundbreaking agreements in recent years which, if implemented, will move the world to greater environmental sustainability and greater social justice. The 2014 Paris Agreement, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2016 New Urban Agenda (NUA) agreements have major implications for urban life and particularly how access to housing contributes to quality of life, social justice and sustainability.
The supply of affordable housing is the life blood of any city or human settlement and social and affordable housing providers can play a key role in determining the future of urban living. With presentations from Greg Budworth, Vice Chair UN Habitat, General Assembly of Partners and Sonja Duncan, Director, SD Environmental Management and Consultant to NSW Office of the Environment and Heritage Sustainability Advantage Program, this Caucus is an unmissable opportunity for those wishing to progress the right to adequate housing in Australia leveraging the community housing sector.
Aboriginal Caucus: the Aboriginal Caucus is an essential opportunity for people working in the Aboriginal community housing sector, in particular CEOs and managers working in the sector. International speaker Rosanna McGregor Cariboo, Friendship Society, British Columbia, Canada will speak about the Canadian Indigenous Housing sector, drawing comparisons to the Australian experience and providing practice advice on how those in the sector can maximise their impact and be agents for change. The Caucus will feature a workshop session with the Aboriginal Housing Office, outlining the sector’s view on housing and homelessness priorities and making detailed recommendations to feed in to Aboriginal Housing Organisation’s strategy.
The Caucus will also serve as the platform to launch the next phase of the sector’s industry body – the Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association or ACHIA for short – providing an overview of activities to date, accountability within the sector and the plans and priorities for ACHIA moving forward. Finally, Charles Northcote will provide experiences from New Zealand and Blue Community Housing Providers in making property development work for Aboriginal communities using examples and exploring the pitfalls.
Registrations are now open! Click here for more information.
2018 Affordable Housing Conference update
With less than a month to go, now is the time to register for the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference! We are delighted to announce Wentworth Community Housing as our official App Sponsor! Download the app to design your personalised program, review sessions and read more about our fantastic speaker line up! To access the app, click here and search ‘Affordable Housing 2018’.
Masterclass on developing housing for communities, supported by communities
To coincide with the launch of two research projects exploring the latest evidence on affordable housing development, the Federation ran a masterclass based on the research. Dr Judy Stubbs, an internationally recognised expert in affordable housing research, policy, economics and strategy lead the masterclass on behalf of the Federation.
30 people from 15 different organisations attended the masterclass, including our members, local government and state government agencies. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive with one person saying that what they learned would be, “A huge help in my role, I have all the information I need to understand what best practice is”.
The first half of the masterclass focussed on the Building Community Support for Community Housing research. Participants learned about community attitudes to affordable housing and how to engage with different parts of the community to gain acceptance for developments. Participants were also given access to a web-based toolkit to support them through the development approvals process.
The second half focussed on Multi-Tenure Developments: Best Practice Approaches to Design, Development and Management. This session brought together Australian and international research about successful development projects that support diverse communities.
Given the success of the event, the Federation is considering running further masterclasses later in the year. If you are interested, please contact Tom Kehoe, Senior Project Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ground-breaking research on affordable housing development
In May, the Federation launched two ground breaking research projects designed to help our members develop affordable rental housing for communities, which is supported by communities.
- Building Community Support for Community Housing delivers a web-based toolkit and video case studies of developments in Eveleigh, Summer Hill, Wollstonecraft and Worrigee highlighting the value of affordable housing for communities.
- Multi-Tenure Developments: Best Practice Approaches to Design, Development and Management reports on Australian and international case studies and identifies contemporary best practice to help our members shape vibrant communities that work well for different people.
Both projects explore the most up-to-date Australian and international evidence, turning the findings into practical resources which help our members engage with their communities to design housing solutions that work for everyone.
The projects have been undertaken on the Federation’s behalf by Dr Judy Stubbs and were delivered in conjunction with the Department of Family and Community Services and Landcom.
For more information about either project, please contact Tom Kehoe, Senior Project Officer (email@example.com)
National Homelessness Conference 2018
We’re now less than three months away from the National Homelessness Conference. This newsletter includes a massive program update with more than 40 speakers now confirmed including our 3rd International keynote presenter. AHURI, in partnership with Homelessness Australia will convene the National Homelessness Conference 2018—Ending Homelessness Together, in Melbourne on Mon 6 and Tue 7 August 2018 as part of Homelessness Week 2018. The release of 2016 Census reveals a 13.7 per cent increase of people experiencing homelessness over the five year period. Against the backdrop of these latest figures, and with the Australian Government developing the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, it is an appropriate time to revive this critical national event after a four year hiatus.
The Conference will bring together policy makers and practitioners from across Australia to learn, engage and network. We are delighted to invite you to join us at this major national event and be part of the conversation aimed at ending homelessness in Australia.
Read our comprehensive update, download our brand new program booklet and make sure you register before the end of the month to secure the special Early Bird rate. Book before Friday 1 June to secure an Early Bird rate and save over $100 on registration. Read more here.
Federation Exchange Save the Date
Please save the date for the next Federation Exchange. We will hold the next FedEx over 2 days on the 12 and 13 September 2018 at a new, more convenient venue – the Mercure Grand Central. The new venue is a few minutes’ walk from Central Station in Sydney. More information surrounding the event will be sent in the coming weeks.
Creating Sustainable Tenancies for Tenants with Complex Needs
With social housing only available to those who need it most, tenants have increasingly complex needs that community housing providers need to respond to. To support community housing providers to manage the tenancies of vulnerable people with more complex needs, the Federation has partnered with Q Shelter to develop the Creating Sustainable Tenancies for Tenants with Complex Needs Toolkit.
The Toolkit was officially launched at an event last week, with Sue Cripps (lead author of the resource), Barb McKenna (General Manager, Customers & Communities, SGCH) and Tracy Wright (CEO, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability) joining the Federation’s CEO Wendy Hayhurst for a panel discussion. You can watch a discussion on producing the toolkit between Federation CEO Wendy Hayhurst and Q Shelter CEO Leone Crayden here.
The sector is clearly highly motivated and committed to further embedding a sustainable tenancies approach in practice and the Federation is pleased to provide the practical resources and tools needed to make this a reality for CHPs of all sizes.
You can download the toolkit and supporting resources on our website. The Federation can support providers to implement the Toolkit through workshops or training for staff. If you would like to discuss this with us please contact Deborah Georgiou on 92181 7144 (ext.204) or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACHIA Update – Refresh of the Closing the Gap Strategy
ACHIA and the Federation support the Refresh of the Closing the Gap Strategy and jointly submitted a response to the consultation. We have argued that a refreshed strategy should recognise safe, secure and adequate housing as essential and a prerequisite for achieving improved social and economic outcomes. The Homelessness Monitor mentioned earlier provided further evidence (if it was needed) for including housing related targets. As the Monitor notes that although Aboriginal people make up only 2.8% of the population they ‘represent 22% of Australia’s homeless population.
In work done by Homelessness NSW and cited in our submission 25% of service users were reported by NSW specialist homeless services to be Aboriginal people. This report also vividly illustrates the other disadvantages homeless Aboriginal people experience with high levels of interaction with the criminal justice service and poor physical and mental health.
We have recommended that targets should be set to address the following:
• the levels of crowding amongst Aboriginal households
• levels of Aboriginal homelessness
• Aboriginal home ownership rates.
The Commonwealth State and Territory governments must also demonstrate commitment to achieving progress and the National Housing and Homeless Agreement should be used to set out explicit strategies and associated actions to meet the targets.
And all organisations should make a renewed commitment to supporting Aboriginal run service models and mainstream services and housing providers should strengthen their own cultural competency, adapt their own services to meet Aboriginal people’s needs and work respectfully with Aboriginal organisations.
Penrith Council commits to action on affordable housing
On Saturday 26 May 2018the Sydney Alliance held a public forum on how to ‘create more affordable and secure housing for people on lower incomes, especially in Western Sydney’. A good crowd was attracted by a stellar panel including politicians from the three levels of government: Federal Senator Doug Cameron (Lab) taking a break from estimates hearings, NSW MP Penny Leong (Greens) and the Mayor of Penrith, Cr John Thain.
Above: NSW MP Penny Leong (Greens), Federal Senator Doug Cameron (Lab) taking a break from estimates hearings, and the Mayor of Penrith, Cr John Thain.
First up though was Magnus Linder, Chair of the Sydney Alliance Housing Team to set the scene and remind us that ‘The GSC’s own modelling shows that Sydney needs at least 8,000 units of affordable housing per year just to keep pace with the growth of the city and unfortunately these (the site targets in the District Plans) will not come anywhere close to delivering these numbers’. Magnus was followed by ex-Committee for Sydney CEO Dr Tim Williams taking us on a whirlwind tour of housing statistics and finishing with the observation that housing supply goes up when prices rise and falls when prices fall – unless of course the Government takes a role and invests.
We heard from a working young mother, Bec Reidy living in the grey housing market, not enough income to afford her own home but lucky to have in laws to help out.
Then came the politicians and they were in furious agreement about the need for a plan, mandatory inclusionary zoning, rental security – particularly removing ‘no grounds’ notices and tax reform that discourages over investment in housing. While we did not get a dollar commitment or target, a Housing Minister to be arguing the case for a slice of the investment pie for housing against transport was promised / supported. Not to be outdone the Penrith Mayor Cr Thain made a strong commitment to using the Council’s own resources and working with local community housing providers like Wentworth to deliver affordable housing.
The forum was held at Penrith Uniting Church, and organized by Sydney Alliance – a coalition of faith, union and community groups.
Proposed Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to Benefit Victims of Domestic and Family Violence
On 20 May the Minster for Better Regulation, Matt Kean, announced that the Residential Tenancies Act in NSW would be amended to better protect the victims of domestic and family violence.
The Federation supported the push for these changes being made by DVNSW and the Women’s Legal Service following input from our Domestic and Family Violence Toolkit Reference Group. The amendments will mean that tenants can terminate their tenancy immediately and without penalty by providing evidence of domestic violence through a provisional, interim or final AVO, certificate of conviction, family law injunction or a statutory declaration made by a medical professional.
Whilst the Federation really welcomes this proposed change to the Act, we had supported the push for evidentiary requirements to be broadened to include statements by support agencies and to mirror the requirements used to support a transfer for DFV reasons in Housing Pathways. It will be interesting to see what the detail is about this in the Exposure Bill due out ‘in the coming months’.
The Minster also announced that there will also be protection for victims from being listed on a tenancy database by an agent or landlord where a debt or property damage arose because of a violent partner.
House Keys update
House Key: Workforce
We are pleased to announce that the sign-up period for House Key: Workforce Round Three will start in June 2018 and this will allow us to make the data available early next financial year.
Our top priority for future rounds of House Keys is to make sure that the most up to date information as possible is available. To achieve this we’ve decided to move straight onto capturing data for this financial year (2017-18) and skip financial year 2016-17. We’ve also made a number of changes to our methodology which will significantly reduce the turnaround time. Two areas where we plan to reduce the turnaround time significantly are the sign up process and the data submission window.
We wish to set up a regular annual cycle so that House Key: Workforce data is released around the end of September every year based on Workforce data from the previous financial year.
- June 2018 – CHPs invited to sign up
- July/August 2018 – Data submission
- End September 2018 – Launch Round Three
We will be in touch in June to let you know how you can be part of the next stage for House Keys: Workforce.
House Key: Operations
The Federation can announce that 36 CHPs will be participating in House Key: Operations Round 4. We are currently compiling the data from the Registrar and FACS, and also the Quantifying and Benchmarking Social Housing Management Expenditure workbooks submitted by 20 CHPs.
To make the release of the data as timely as possible there will be a 3 week validation window and your data strips will be emailed to you in the next 1 -2 weeks for validation.
We are aiming to release Round 4 in July 2018 and our timetable for the work is as follows:
- Data export – April and May 2018
- Data validation by Federation and CHPs – June 2018
- Platform set up and testing until July 2018
Find out more:
http://www.communityhousing.org.au/housekeys/HouseKeys.pdf Watch our House Keys video to find out how to get the most out of it and read our House Keys user manual. Or email Leoni Lynch email@example.com
Social Housing Priority Outcome Indicators
The Outcomes Network has been working to develop a list of priority outcome indicators to measure the impact of community housing providers on tenant outcomes. The Centre for Social Impact provided an extensive list of possible indicators, which have been refined down based feedback from the Outcomes Network.
FACS have provided advice about the indicators that will be collected for public housing and these have been incorporated into the final list of indicators to ensure alignment. Future alignment with the Department of Social Services Data Exchange (DEX) has also been considered.
An outcomes survey, which includes the priority indicators has been circulated to the Outcomes Network. Please contact the Outcomes Network representative in your organisation for a copy of the survey. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hume Community Housing has successfully delivered on its commitment to develop quality affordable and social housing in NSW with the official opening of Hamilton@Fairfield this month. The 60 unit development includes 31 social housing units and 29 affordable housing units that are being rented to essential workers so they can live near work and reside in a vibrant neighbourhood.
Assistant Minister to the Treasurer the Hon Michael Sukkar MP launched Hamilton@Fairfield which includes 60 new units as well as a new purpose built office space so Hume can continue to provide services to its local customers.
Mr Sukkar said the Hamilton@Fairfield development was an excellent example of what can be achieved when governments work with the community housing sector. “I’m pleased to officially open Hume’s new development in Fairfield, which delivers homes and opportunities that will support our communities to prosper,” Mr Sukkar said.
Hamilton@Fairfield contains a mix of studio, one and two bedroom apartments and well-designed outdoor spaces. The rooftop BBQ areas with herb gardens have expansive views of Fairfield and provide practical outdoor living and excellent places to meet up and develop a sense of community.
Hume customers are extremely happy to be able to move into the centrally located and aesthetically appealing complex. Elina Khoshaba is one customer who has moved in the building with her daughter and husband. “We are so thankful for our new place. Everyone was so helpful with our move and made everything easy,” she said.
Left: Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon Michael Sukkar MP opens the project with Hume CEO Nicola Lemon and Chairman Robert Vine
Grand Opening of Harts Landing
Evolve Housing officially opened its new multi tenure development in Thornton Estate Penrith on a perfect sunny Tuesday 29 May. A short stroll from Penrith rail station, Harts Landing is a partnership between Evolve Housing and PAYCE that has resulted in 268 apartments, with 134 of these being much needed social and affordable housing dwellings and 134 private market housing dwellings.
Built ahead of schedule the development was a true collaborative effort. Funding came via NRAS incentives from the Commonwealth Government, the NSW Government put in additional grant to help fund the social element and allow the purchase of the site at a discount via Landcom, and CBA provided the private finance. Penrith Council managed a smooth streamlined DA process and the AHO came along and purchased ten units for affordable Aboriginal housing.
A lovely ceremony opened with a beautiful welcome to Darug Country and a host of speakers followed all expertly mcc’d by Evolve Board member David Borger. In the line up were Evolve’s CEO Andrea Galloway, Payce’s Dominic Sullivan The Hon. Pru Goward, MP, Minister for Family and Community Services, and Minister for Social Housing and the Hon. Stuart Ayres, MP, Minister for Western Sydney, Minister for WestConnex, and Minister for Sport.
A great model everyone said they wanted to see replicated throughout the Western Sydney region. An article on the development likened securing a spot in the Harts Landing development to ‘winning the lotto’.
Ecclesia Housing merges with Amélie Housing
From 18 May, Ecclesia Housing merged with Amélie Housing. For the time being, Ecclesia Housing will continue to operate all its current programs and obligations. Brian Murnane will be the CEO of Ecclesia Housing as well as Amélie Housing and the Board of Amélie Housing will also be the Board of Ecclesia Housing.
The merger will mean that Ecclesia Housing will become a significant part of the Amélie Housing growth and be supported by the extensive resources of the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW. It will result in improved outcomes for our tenants and our assets will be used for the development of more community housing.
Pacific Link Housing Appoints a New CEO
Local social and affordable housing provider Pacific Link Housing (PLH) has appointed a new
Chief Executive Officer. It has been announced that Craig Brennan will be joining the organisation, officially taking over from interim CEO, Daphne Wayland on Monday 4 June 2018.
Mr Brennan joins PLH with a wealth of experience in the community housing sector. His previous roles have included eight years as CEO of Community Housing Canberra (CHC), a Tier One community housing provider in the ACT. Prior to CHC, Craig spent three years in development roles with Defence Housing Australia and four years with Business ACT, an agency of the ACT Government. He also holds an MBA and has a degree in communications.
“The Board undertook an extensive recruitment process to carefully select the best candidate for this role,” said David Bacon, Chairman of Pacific Link Housing.
“Craig’s in-depth experience in the delivery of large-scale housing developments, particularly within the community housing sector, will ensure we continue to successfully deliver our pipeline of development projects,” said Mr Bacon
Ms Wayland now returns to her role in governance and compliance, staying within the organisation to allow for continuity and a smooth transition as Mr Brennan settles into his new role.
“I am excited to be joining Pacific Link Housing to further improve the supply of affordable housing to the Central Coast and Hunter communities,” says Mr Brennan.
“Pacific Link’s mission to provide the best possible outcomes and support programs for their tenants is inspiring, and I look forward to taking an innovative approach to continuing this work to make a difference in the sector,” continued Mr Brennan.
PLH’s strong tenant focus has assisted more than 600 residents through the organisation’s self-funded tenant support programs, which provide opportunities for tenants to improve their situation and, where possible, transition back to private housing.
“We are looking forward to this next phase in the organisation’s growth and continuing to deliver on Pacific Link’s track record of high rates of tenant satisfaction for our 2,000 residents,” said Mr Bacon
For more information about Pacific Link Housing visit pacificlink.org.au or phone
(02) 4324 7617.
In the Media
Over the past month the Federation and CEO Wendy Hayhurst have been mentioned in the following news article:
Rental Stress Across NSW Calls For More Community Housing (01/05/2018)
Rental stress is growing across NSW, highlighting the urgent need for government action to create more social and affordable housing for local communities from the Tweed to the Riverina.
NSW Federation of Housing Associations CEO, Wendy Hayhurst, said chronic rental stress has been shown through Anglicare’s 2018 Rental Affordability Snapshot. “It’s no surprise that yet again there is not a single property affordable for a young family on a minimum wage or government support to rent within 20km of Sydney’s CBD,” Ms Hayhurst said.
Housing affordability an issue in Wagga too, says Federation (02/05/2018)
The NSW Federation of Housing Associations says growing rental stress across NSW highlights the urgent need for action from all levels of government, to create more social and affordable housing for communities like those here in the Riverina.
Four demo sites in NSW will test innovative housing models to tackle affordability (03/05/2018)
Micro lots, vertical villages, compact apartments and alternative financial models will be trialled at four demo sites across NSW in a housing affordability experiment by the state government’s land and property agency, Landcom. NSW Federation of Housing Associations chief executive Wendy Hayhurst,
For every public housing property sold in NSW, just two are built (06/05/2018)
The NSW government has sold off half as much public housing as it has built over the last three years, new figures show, adding to concerns that its marquee social housing supply programs will have little impact on the decade-long waitlist. Wendy Hayhurst, the chief executive NSW Federation of Housing Associations, said only a significant shift in government policy, such as treating housing as essential infrastructure, would reduce the social housing waiting list.
who was consulted earlier in the year at a conference with other not-for-profit groups, has welcomed the initiative.
Experts disappointed in federal budget’s lack of focus on affordable housing (09/05/2018)
Housing providers and experts have slammed the federal government for failing to deliver a missing puzzle piece to boost housing supply for low and moderate-income earners in this week’s budget. Though lower income earners were dubbed budget winners thanks to personal tax cuts, they would be better off if the government focused on increasing affordable housing, according to the NSW Federation of Housing Associations.
Ivanhoe redevelopment criticised for lack of affordable housing (12/05/2018)
The NSW government promises its redevelopment of a public housing estate in Sydney’s north will provide up to 1000 dwellings for social housing as well as community facilities and services. Wendy Hayhurst, the chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, said the concept design for Ivanhoe Estate included more social and affordable housing than the minimum required.